Monday, December 10, 2018

WEP Challenge - By Candlelight

Dylan wiped his hands on his new jeans. Maybe he should change into more comfortable ones. Or dress slacks. A tie. He should wear a tie.
No. Too stuffy and he’d never be able to swallow. Or breathe.
Okay. No tie. Stick with the jeans.
Deep breath. If he couldn’t get it together, he’d sweat right through the shirt he'd chosen.
Calm.
His sister was all about yoga and meditation. She’d know how to set the stage and not panic. She’d know how he should dress too. But if he called her for advice, he’d never hear the end of it.
He was doing this solo.
And he was doing it right.
The timer on his cell beeped. Ten minutes. Only ten minutes. Screw calm, he had things to do.
A peek in the oven showed the lasagna bubbling away. Another few minutes and he’d pull it out to rest. Salad was prepped and ready to toss. Garlic bread set to go in as the pasta came out.
He’d set the dining nook and hidden the little box behind the plants on the ledge so he could pull it out at the right time.
At the thought, another wave of sweat rolled down his forehead. He used a tea towel to wipe it away then looked in horror at it. He hadn’t done laundry. Were there any clean ones left?
With a sigh, Dylan swiped the ruined cloth over his neck and wished it wouldn’t be totally disgusting to use it on his arm pits as well.
He’d burned three of his ten minutes. Dylan grabbed the barbecue lighter from the drawer and headed back to the dining nook. It took three tries but he got it working and he slowly walked around the room, lighting the candles he’d clustered. Apparently the effect was better when candles were set in odd numbers, so he had groups of three and five. Seven had looked more like a pyre than a romantic setting, so he’d scrapped that.
The buzzer nearly had him jumping out of his skin. With a sigh at his nerves, Dylan tossed the tea towel and the lighter, then moved to the door to press the button. “H-Hello.” He thunked his head against the wall over the stammer. He couldn’t be lame. Not tonight.
“It’s me.”
Dylan nodded, then groaned and pressed the buzzer. “Come on up.”
“See you in a minute.” The smile reached through the speaker, bringing one of his own. Everything about that voice soothed him right down to his soul.
Dylan unlocked the apartment door. He started back to the kitchen then decided he’d rather meet the elevator than check on the pasta one more time. He walked down the hall and leaned back against the wall to wait. After a moment, he shoved off, not wanting to look too casual. He straightened, then loosened his knees. Not uptight either. Hands in pockets. Yeah. That would work.
He was driving himself way past crazy.
The elevator dinged and in only an eternity the doors swooshed open. “Hey you.”
“Hey yourself, handsome.”
The kiss soothed any remaining nerves. This was right. All the way right.
“Is something burning?”
Dylan whipped around to see smoke snaking out of his apartment just as a smoke alarm split the night.
They raced to the door but the smoke was thicker and a peek showed flames from where he’d tossed the tea towel too close to one group of candles. Talk about a pyre. The sprinkler system kicked on but the flames didn’t seem to care.
When he started into the room, Marc tapped his arm. “Be careful. I’ll call 911.”
Dylan grabbed the fire extinguisher from under the sink and aimed it at the flames. It didn’t take long to kill the fire, but the mess was unbelievable. His shoulders sagged and he swore. “Tonight was supposed to be… I planned everything… Damn it, I was going to propose!” Well, that wasn’t the romantic speech he’d planned.
Marc’s eyes widened as he finished the call and shoved his phone in his pocket then joined Dylan while neighbours gathered in the hallway.
A small smile kicked up the corner of Marc’s mouth. Without breaking eye contact, he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small box. “In a few decades, it’ll make a fabulous story to tell the grandkids.”

***
This story is part of the WEP challenge. Hope you'll check out the rest of the entries for the twin themes of Ribbons & Candles! There's still time to sign up as entries don't close until December 20th!

WEP CHALLENGE FOR DECEMBER - RIBBONS AND CANDLES



Wednesday, December 5, 2018

IWSG & My Writing Space

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***

December 5th Question: What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?
  • Laptop (obviously!)
  • Mug of Chai tea - resting on a mug warmer
  • My R2D2 USB key sitting beside my BB8 Pez dispenser
  • A LotR map on the wall
  • Framed quotes of the 1st lines of my favourite books as well as my 1st published story (Until Release in Tick Tock: A Stitch In Crime)

How about you - what fun things are in your writing (or reading!) space? 


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG & Creativity

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***
Question: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

Interesting question - I had to think about this one!

As a kid I always played with stories and told them in my head. I used to create Star Trek episodes when I struggled with sleep. However, I never wrote down even a single word of those stories.

I started writing a novel (another Star Trek story - TNG this time) for fun when my kids were little. It was a blast to pour words onto the computer. From then on, my stories took on more substance and, after another decade or so, began to demand to be written out.

I think the act of writing (and the process of learning that there is SO MUCH MORE to a story than writing it out) has definitely triggered more creativity.

The stories that keep me awake at night now are the ones waiting to be written, not the ones I'm currently writing.

Because of this, I think I will always have at least another story waiting to be written. Currently there are 4 or 5 wrestling for dominance, so I don't think I'll ever have to worry about lack of ideas to write!

How about you? Do you stories keep you up at night too?

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

WEP Challenge News!

Fun news!

My story for the Deja Vu/Voodoo  in the WEP (Write - Edit - Publish) challenge took 2nd place in the contest!

Congrats to Kalpana for the first place story - which is seriously awesome & made me wonder about the apps I've downloaded!!



Thanks to the organizers for the honour - there were so many terrific stories. I'm thrilled Jonah made an impact :)

Between this and my Until Release story in Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, I've definitely become a fan of writing shorter fiction! Who knew????



The next WEP challenge will be in December - Ribbons & Candles. I hope you'll join in!

Thanks again to the fabulous WEP team!

How about you? Do you enjoy writing or reading flash fiction?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

WEP - Deja Vu

The results weren’t good enough.

Again.

Jonah’s research and planning had been thorough. Now, he’d have to reanalyze his data to figure out where it had all gone sideways. No matter how careful and methodical he was, he just couldn’t emulate the results of that first trial.

Disappointment seeped into his bones until Jonah wanted to weep. His premise was sound, the research was solid, his planning meticulous. He needed to figure out how to extrapolate that research into reality. Nothing counted except results.

With a sigh, Jonah pulled out his cell phone to document the current mess. He’d gone into this knowing that it would take multiple trials before he found consistent success, but that first lucky hit had made each subsequent failure more difficult.

Which variable was he missing? Was it in the timing, the speed, the angles?

Jonah took photos from all directions looking for anything that would show him the way out of this deja vu cycle of failure.

A scrap of noise had Jonah jolting up from the pavement. He’d gotten so caught up in the failure, he’d lost track of his surroundings. Moving out of the light, Jonah gathered his nerves along with his knives. He needed to get home, analyze his mistake, and prepare so he could continue his work.

As he eased away from the circle of light, Jonah caught glimpses of where he’d erred and where he’d succeeded. The body lay perfectly centred in the pool of blood, but the wounds weren’t symmetrical. The facial expression showed a moment of confusion, not fear.

Jonah took one last picture.

Next time it would be perfect.

Next time.

***

This is my first time participating in the WEP challenge. Hope you'll check out the rest of the entries for the twin themes of Deja Vu & Voodoo!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG & Life's Craziness

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***

October 3 question - How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Wow - timely question!

As many of you know, I've got a family member recovering from some major injuries. Events like my loved one's accident and subsequent recovery require a lot of time outside of our regular schedules. As we all know, time is a valuable and coveted commodity. Like many of us, I don't have enough of it and the current situation gives me less time for writing.

When I don't have regular writing time, my groove gets a little bumpy and my confidence drops. To get back into my groove, I end up needing to reread my WIP. More time required, but it does work.

On the flip side, writing most definitely helps me through all parts of life. It's a fabulous way to relieve stress and work through situations.

Despite all the ups and downs that life throws along our paths, I know I'll continue to write.

How about you? Does writing help you cope and relieve some stress? (Except when it's causing you stress!! 😄)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Pippa Roscoe & Getting Tough!

Please welcome Pippa Roscoe back to the blog today!
***
When the going gets tough… the tough get going!
Last year, I had my bathroom redone. (Bear with me!) We ripped out of the bath and installed a huge shower along one wall. Instead of using wall tiles, I wanted to do something different. I’d seen penny floors and back splashes and loved the look of it. But could I really do that in my bathroom? My (fabulous!) plumber helped me put together an idea of how we could do it. And over the course of three and a half solid days, morning to night, I patiently and not-so-patiently, used a caulk gun to individually stick £210 of 2 pennies in rows along the three walls of the unit. 
After about the first hour that I thought, oh my god, what on earth was a I thinking? I feared that I was never going to get it done, and that even if I did, I’d hate it when it was finally up. That… or they’d find my dead body collapsed under mouldy 2p coins! 
There’s a point of no return with projects like this and I’d reached it the first penny I stuck to the wall. All the little fears morphed into bigger ones – how was I going to clean them? Would they discolour and disintegrate after one month? Would the grouting stick to pennies and take me years to chip off? Would I have to rip them all off one day? Was I mad???  
I realised recently that writing is a little like this. With every book I’ve written, there’s a moment – whether it’s the first chapter, second, third, or eighth, that I’ve had this very same moment. When I think… this isn’t going to work. This is going to be awful. Did I really think I could do this? 
Every single writer – published or otherwise – will tell you that writing is hard. Absolutely 100% worth it, but hard. It takes grit and determination to push through the moment when you find yourself staring at your computer, thinking what on earth is this? How did I think that was any good? It’s a fairly dark and lonely time when this happens. The characters are misbehaving and you’re losing the threads of your plot and that no one else can help you. Those doubts and that frustration… they can overwhelm you if you let them. 
If you’ve had that moment, then I want to tell you that you’re not alone. We’re here. We’ve been through it. And we’ve come out the other side of it. 
Because this is the moment that defines you as a writer. This is the moment when you must push on through those painful doubts, when you find the way to fix the plot hole, arm wrestle your characters into submission… You may have to walk away for a bit – spend some time in the garden, go for a walk, let your imagination run wild! Writing doesn’t just take place in front of the computer putting words on a page. It takes place in the spaces where you’re thinking about the whys and wherefores, it’s the silent conversations you have with your characters, it’s the moment you zone out of the dinner table conversation and realise that’s what’s not working. It’s in the shower, when you’ve left the conditioner on your hair for ten minutes too long as you realise that’s how to fix it. 
There’s always a moment in every project when you think what have I done? But that panic, that fear… it’s up to you how you handle it. Please don’t let it overwhelm you. Allowing yourself to be curious, to question why and what if, that makes you the writer you are. So give yourself the time to consider it, the kindness to accept and move on from the doubts, and the power, once you come through the other side, to see just how far and how fabulous that journey has been. 
In the spirit of positivity, I’d love to hear about how you felt when you’d overcome a difficult writing moment! And if you feel like sharing the how – I’m sure that all readers would love to hear it!

P.S. the finished bathroom looked amazing! And the books I’ve had the greatest wrestle with? On the shelves!  
***
Mills & Boon author Pippa Roscoe lives in Norfolk near her family and makes daily promises that this will be the day she will leave the computer and take a long walk in the countryside. She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t dreaming of gorgeous alpha males and misunderstood heroines. Totally her mother’s fault of course—she gave Pippa her first romance to read at the age of seven! She is inconceivably happy that she gets to share those
daydreams with her readers.
Pippa Roscoe on the web:
Website          Facebook        Twitter 

A Ring to Take His Revenge (The Winners' Circle)

He’ll do anything to settle the score…

…even fake an engagement!

To secure his revenge against his cruel father, billionaire Antonio Arcuri needs a fake fiancée—fast! He demands his shy PA, Emma Guilham, wear his diamond. In return, he’ll help fulfill her dreams—starting with a jet-set trip to Buenos Aires! It’s a simple charade, until the burning tension between them erupts into irresistible desire. Now Antonio must decide between vengeance and Emma…

A powerfully intense revenge romance!.

Buy on:

Amazon UK             Amazon Aust


Nook                        Kobo


***
Thanks Pippa!
I know I've hit a few of those dark moments - and am maybe in the middle of one right now! - but digging in with hard work always makes it better.

What about you? How do you power through?